WAR & POLITICS
Chris Briggs is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of History, University of Cambridge, and a Fellow of Selwyn College. He is interested in all aspects of the economy and society of later medieval England, and has published on rural credit and debt, peasants and the law, and material culture. Between 2016 and 2020 he was co-investigator on the project ‘Living standards and material culture in English rural households 1300-1600’ funded by the Leverhulme Trust. An online, open-access book entitled The material culture of English households c.1250-1600, co-authored by members of the project team, has just been published by Cardiff University Press.
This talk will consider the evidence for the material possessions of some Kentish men who were hanged as traitors following their participation in the uprisings of 1450-51 (Cade’s rebellion). We have records of the rebels’ goods and chattels because they were forfeited to the crown following their executions. The rebels’ lists of possession represent just a small sample from a larger database of such lists collected as part of a project that sought to investigate the material world and living standards of England’s lower orders during the later Middle Ages. The paper discusses the forfeiture process and the ways in which it shaped the surviving evidence and asks whether there was anything distinctive or unusual about the material culture of these rebels.